Bark Out Loud: Dogs Get Their Own Network

Dogs can’t fill out a Nielsen diary or light up a people meter, so data on what programming they enjoy would seem to be scant. Intuition might suggest this week’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on USA would be a smash, while Animal Planet would be a favorite network, especially when “America’s Cutest Dog” is on.

But if a dog is really a person’s best friend, shouldn’t people push harder for information on what their pets enjoy. Co-viewing would then be more rewarding. Owners could also stop being selfish and watching the Kardashians or “Jersey Shore” when their dogs object.

Further, they might know whether to leave ESPN or Discovery on during the day while at work, helping eliminate some of the guilt.

Help may be on the way, at least for what to do from 9 to 5. DogTV, a new network targeting dogs, is rolling out. Yes, cable will not stop in its quest to reach every niche audience.

Loads of networks can’t get cable operators to carry them. Yet, Time Warner Cable and Cox in San Diego have agreed to launch DogTV as an on-demand offering. It will be free at first, then cost $4.99 a month.

Gilad Neumann, CEO of DogTV, said in a statement the network has programming derived from studies showing “it relaxes and stimulates our dogs – keeping them healthier."

The network says its producers “understand how dogs perceive the world,” while a team has spent time testing the content with dogs, dog owners, trainers and vets. Four years of research have gone into the project.

“To cater to a dog’s unique sense of sight, hearing, and movement detection, DogTV took great care to select the right visuals – the scenery, scenarios, color palettes, camera angles, and transitions that appeal the most to dogs,” the network said. “In addition, the programming’s audio soundtracks, including music and other sounds, were selected specifically with a dog’s experience in mind."

Dogs may sit in front of the TV, but are they engaged?

“The answer is yes! Dogs respond to what they see and hear on TV, and enjoy TV the most when they see other dogs, other animals and even inanimate moving objects,” stated Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, program director of the Animal Behavior Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts University.

Some might say cable networks have made it with less insight into what their audience wants.

Tags: television
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